This is a religious studies post more than a philosophy post.
A few days ago Pope Benedict XVI canonized some new saints. One was Father Damien (a priest known for his work with lepers in Hawaii in the 19th century). Well, it turns out the LDS Church had posthumously baptized him into the LDS Church (read about it here). Not only that, they posthumously married him (remember – he was a celibate priest!), sealing him for eternity to someone named Marie. I had never heard of posthumous marriage, and I find it hard to come up with any justification for it. Setting that aside, I rather suspect that Fr. Damien – assuming he was interested in giving up his celibacy – would have liked being able to choose his wife!
Of course there has been quite a lot of controversy around the LDS practice of baptism for the dead with regards to Nazis and Holocaust victims. For my part, I am not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I simply find it silly and I don’t care. I’ll be frank without intending any disrespect: why should I care about this any more than I would care about someone vesting Fr. Damien posthumously in a Zeus religion, since I think both religions are false and so neither ritual exercise makes any difference?
On the other hand, it is hard to not find it rather disrespectful (even though I can see that it is likely done out of good intentions). Perhaps not only disrespectful but also harmful. I am referring to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics I.11 where he argues that posthumous events can have an effect on the dead (if misfortune befalls descendants, or if the deceased person comes to be associated with evil then his reputation that lives on in memory will be harmed). It is worth noting, though, that Aristotle thinks none of these effects are “of such a kind and degree as neither to make the happy unhappy nor to produce any other change of the kind.” So Saint Damien will (or rather is) resting in peace.